New fault line found in California, already overdue for whopper quake

Tabitha Dunn
March 9, 2017

Up until now the Salton trough fault (STF) managed to remain hidden, despite how well-surveyed and seismically active the state of California is, because it is underwater. "Large, but less damaging earthquakes, like magnitude 7.5, may be the more typical type of occurrence along this stretch of the fault", Graves said. Since the stepovers are only 1.24 miles wide at most, the team concluded that the points are not wide enough to inhibit a rupture of the entire offshore segments.

The team used two estimation methods to derive the maximum potential a rupture of the entire fault, including one onshore and offshore portions.

A powerful fault system that runs from San Diego to Los Angeles could produce a magnitude 7.3 to 7.4 natural disaster if the segments rupture, according to an analysis led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Such noted scientists as former USGS seismologist as Lucy Jones have said the the marine faults could produce a tsunami that could damage parts of San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties.

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new study that says we could be overdue for a major quake from the San Andreas Fault along the Grapevine - in the Tejon Pass near Frazier Mountain in northeastern Kern County - that would shake the Los Angeles basin for several minutes.

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"Even if you have a high 5- or low 6-magnitude natural disaster, it can still have a major impact on those regions which are some of the most densely populated in California", Sahakian explained. The disparate data have different resolution scales and depth of penetration providing a "nested survey" of the region. With this information, they defined the fault dimensions and magnitude with more precision than other studies before. She is now a postdoctoral fellow with the U.S. Geological Survey. The new research shows that M=7.3+ earthquakes are possible along this fault zone. That natural disaster was an especially large one-magnitude 7.9-and its severity could explain why the fault has been fairly inactive since then, as seismologist Egill Hauksson tells the Los Angeles Times. Southern California Edison funded the research at the direction of the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Scientists observing trenches at this site discovered that earthquakes on this section of the San Andreas fault occurred on average once every 100 years, according to The Times. The yellow star in this figure marks the location of the 1933 M=6.4 Long Beach quake which killed 113 people.

The southern end also shows evidence of an event roughly 400 years ago, though there is little significant activity in the 5,000 years leading up to it.

"Further study is warranted to improve the current understanding of hazard and potential ground shaking posed to urban coastal areas from Tijuana to Los Angeles from the NIRC fault", the study concludes.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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